Loosely translated, “Jour de Fete” means a holiday, or a day of celebration.
In Ste. Genevieve, Jour de Fete is the city’s signature summer tourism event. The 48th annual festival will take place Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10 in downtown Ste. Genevieve.
Jour de Fete features over 150 arts and crafts booths, as well as hands-on exhibits, historic re-enactments, demonstrations, food, and live music. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission to the festival is free, but parking in or near the downtown area is extremely limited. Organizers suggest Jour de Fete visitors take a shuttle bus to the event.
The shuttle will run from the Eric Scott Leathers parking lot (the Eric Scott Leathers parking lot is located off of Route M) to downtown Ste. Genevieve from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Round-trip shuttle bus tickets are $3 for adults and $1 for children (ages 3-10).
Shoppers can find a wide range of hand-crafted items, including jewelry, candles, leather items, clothing, "upcycled" antiques, stained glass, furniture, quilts, garden ornaments, and flutes. Jams, jellies, fresh baked bread, and woodworking items are featured at an open-air market on the festival grounds.
Food and drink to fit any taste, from kettle corn and Ted Drewes frozen custard, to pork burgers, blooming onions and barbeque; plus beer, wine, ale, and soda will be available.
Visitors wanting to do more than browse the arts and craft booths can see a variety of re-enactments and demonstrations during Jour de Fete weekend.
The Ste. Genevieve French Militia will demonstrate colonial military skills near the Mamie Shaw House on Second Street, and the World Bird Sanctuary will have a birds of prey display in the backyard of the Felix Valle State Historic Site.
Music lovers can get their fix at a number of sites.
Live performances will be featured at beer gardens at Lion’s Club Park on Market Street, the Jaycee stand at the corner of Merchant and Second Street, and at the Downtown Renewal Beer Garden at North Main and Washington throughout the weekend.
While the focus is mainly on artisan creations, history and entertainment, Jour de Fete also has events for those craving horsepower.
The Classic Cruisers Car Club will have a special display of vintage automobiles at a show near Moses Austin Park on Saturday. The local Knights of Columbus Hall on Market Street will be the site of the ‘All Gas-Powered Vehicles’ show with live music and fried chicken dinners from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Weather has always played a role in Jour de Fete celebrations. Visitors who need to take a break from walking around the grounds can find cooling stations at the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center (66 Main Street), Holy Cross Lutheran Church (202 Market Street), First Presbyterian Church (106 S. Main St, and Remnant Church (25 N. Main Street).
Accessible restrooms are also available at the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center.
Unfamiliar with downtown Ste. Genevieve? Maps of the Jour de Fete festival grounds and more information is available at the official event website, www.saintegenevievejourdefete.com.